Tuesday, February 24, 2009

laying of hands

When I started blogging, I made a pact with myself that I would not write about school. Sch can be overwhelming etc etc and this was supposed to be a way for me to occasionally get out of that box. That said, sch is such an integral part of my life that I cant simply ignore it in any part of my life. So I decided to share a little insight that occured to me recently.

Medicine can be a very intimate profession. It often requires getting all up in someone's personal space, talking about some very sensitive things and performing procedures and tests that are invasive on many different levels. One of the most powerful things for me at this point is the amount of touch that goes on. I never really thought about my hands other than for their day to day use, and the concept of laying of hands to heal and to comfort seemed restricted to pastors and other such authorities. For me then, the fact that my hands can be used to heal in a physical sense is........almost amazing and slightly disconcerting.

Its a little difficult to explain what I mean. The best I can say is that I seem to have a newfound respect for hands. For the ability to help heal, reassure or at least to comfort. I'm also humbled at the amount of trust that people give me (a lowly first year who's only halfway through the year) when they allow me to touch them and their children.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The uni in VR

I just read a story about a medical and technical university to be built in Sokode, in the Volta Region of Ghana. Now as a proud child of the Volta region, that news makes me happy. I think its about time that the country got another public university. This uni is being built by a Swiss based humanitarian group ACORD, has an estimated cost of $850 million, will have funding set aside for needy students and will be run by the government once its done.

I'll admit that when I read the article on joyonline I was a little skeptical. It almost sounds too good to be true. So I had all these questions that were answered by a much closer reading of the article. This is why my teachers have always said "read the entire question!!!!!" But I digress and I still have a few questions:

The website says that "ACORD's response to the challenges of Africa is firmly based on a belief that people themselves are the agents of change and actors of their own development. People's ability to take action on the causes of poverty is what will transform Africa's future." This sounds noble, but I wonder why the government isnt being asked to contribute somehow to the building of the university? Perhaps because the government will have to run and maintain the university which is quite the task..........still, I wonder if it'll be maintained and run a little more carefully because the government's thus the people's money has gone into raising the infrastructure?

Actually, this just show's me that I know very little about how projects are carried out by the country. How much aid money and loans do we live on? How much money does the country generate and where does it come from? Is out tax system anywhere near effective? These are truly random questions- it might actually be fun to find out the answers. As much as I tend to distrust politicians, it will be kinda cool to sit and talk to one who is knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of running a country.....

So if anyone has some knowledge or info or insight, please let a sister know......

That said, I wonder how the med school in the North is doing? I hear so little about it that I sometimes forget that it exists. I do know that a few years ago, students from there had to go to KATH and K'Bu for some part of their training. I wonder if that's all been worked out. Does anyone have any info or fila to pass on?

Anyways, I think it'll be very exciting if things run smoothly with this new school. Lets see how it all pans out.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Ghanaian NASA dude

Late last week I got an email from a friend of mine, and it as a link to a bbc article on this Ghanaian guy who's a big man an Nasa. My first though after reading the article was "so what?" Now, I'm not tryna hate on the dude or anything, but talks about how when he left Ghana, people were farming with cattle and hoes, and how when he went back years later things were the same. He goes on to ask "so where are our engineers?" and right then, I wanted to smack him and say "at NASA, that's where".

Here's my thing. I would love for all Ghanaians to go back home and give back their skills to the nation that nurtured them, and for many of the older generation, that literally took them where ever they are. That said, I know its not possible, and perhaps not even necessary. People can still make very valuable contributions to the country from afar, and people who live in the country arent necessailry helpless either. People have been and still are doing some really exciting and beneficial things. Besides, life happens, children get born, credit card debt gets bigger, mortgage happens and the "we'll be in Ghana in 3 years" never really happens. That too is ok. But I get annoyed when people sit somewhere far away and boast about being Ghanaian when they haven't done a single thing to help the country. So what if some brilliant doctor is from Ghana? He hasnt set foot in the country for 20 years, has a very out dated view of the country and its many peoples? does not understand the psyche (which I assure you can be very fluid), still thinks Accra has no paved roads (sometime I do wonder though) and on and on. So tell me, why should I or anyone else be proud that the cellphone technology that Mr NASA has helped build has reached "even" Ghana? all because he happens to have been born there? really?

And no, sending money to your relatives really doesnt count as helping the country!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

on love and the complexities there of.....

The title sounds a whole lot deeper than the content is going to be. Just a friendly warning.

I read a section on marriage in my Bible today. One that is very well known to many Christians. And while I'm not married it got me thinking about the marriages that have gone before me and that have eventually produced me. Great-grand parents, grandparents, parents and all the many uncles and aunts and even now, one of my siblings. I dont know much about many of these marriages, but it seems that of the ones I do know about, I have some pretty good examples and legacies before me. I know no one (therefore no marriage) is perfect, and I'm sure there are many horror stories in the marriages that I see before me-but even knowing that things are not always as they seem- these examples generally make me feel warm and fuzzy :)

This warm and fuzzy feeling then got me thinking about the rest of the people in my network/circle. All the family members and friends. And I was reminded that love has many dimensions and many shades. You sometimes find it in the most unexpected places and ways. Its kinda hard to kill that strong and secure love that family and friends offer. And sometimes when someone disappoints or hurts you, other people can help heal the hurt.

ok, this is sappy, but sappy is ok once in a while :) The main point I guess is that I'm very grateful for all the love that I get from my friends and family. So happy valentine's day everyone.....

p.s. I held a human heart in my hands today. It's one of the coolest things ever. I think its way cooler than the brain.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Life and balance

If I've heard the word balance once, I've heard it 1000 times. I'll even admit that I'm pretty sick of the word. So why am I writing about balance? Because I wonder if it really is such a big issue or if its all in my head. I've been told that I need to balance out my life. That I cant be a student and a professional who only knows book and work. That people like that are ultimately "sad" people and not very pleasant or fulfilled. I'm going to be working in a service industry-so apparently its even more important for me to be "balanced" so that I'll able to interact and properly deal with people. I agree with all this. I dont want to be a person- professional or not- who only knows books and nothing else. I think it'll be a very boring way to live, and I dont want to be a boring person. Unfortunately though, life right now is not very balanced. There's a whole lot of school and not much of anything else. That is, of course, to be expected, and this is why I've been told time and time again to make time for myself, to find a hobby, to meet different people and on and on.

In very sharp contrast is the lives of medical students I met at home. School is exceedingly busy and stressful to be sure, but they are somehow able to make the time to to be involved in many activities inside and outside school. And I seriously doubt that every conversation that have revolves around anatomy lab or which patient they saw etc etc. I asked a friend of mine how she finds balance in med school. She gave me this wonderfully blank look and said something to the effect of "what exactly do you mean by balance?" To which I replied that she seemed to have so much more going on and she said something like "I don't know- it just is"

This brings me to my point. How exactly do people find balance? I feel like there's some magic equation that's just out of my reach. I can kinda see it, but not really and not quite. What can I do to achieve this balance? How will I go about meeting people and making friends? (male AND female, for those of you who are wondering. Yes, you know yourselves :) ) What kinds of hobbies can I pick up ?(apart from reading) Are there other options that I'm simply missing?

On the flip side, maybe its not such a problem, and maybe its all in my head. Its entirely possibly that I'm just whining and having a hard time taking off rose-colored lenses about what life should be like (probably a more likely option at this point). Maybe I simply need to grow up and realise that life as I've known it has been irrevocably changed. Perhaps my life is as balanced as it should be, and I only need to come around to this realization.

I'm not depressed and I hope this hasn't been a downer of a post. I just have questions, and the answers arent readily apparent to me. So, if anyone out there has suggestions, comments, questions, advice etc about balance, or the lack thereof, then please drop by and share your words.


I'm generally apathetic. This is nothing new. But I'll admit that even I have been caught up with the whole Obama and co craze. Why not? His story- their story- is one of great faith, great encouragement etc. I think it makes us see the possibilities that lie before us.

That said, I really wonder what there is to gain by the ceaseless talk about Obama and his family. I believe I read somewhere that the J Crew website had so many visitors after the inauguration that it crashed- presumably because so many people went to check out the coats that the Obama girls wore. NYT carries countless articles about Obama or Michelle or the girls or Michelle's mother........yeah, they're exciting, but are they really that unusual? Is Michelle's mother the only grandmother to be actively involved with raising her grandchildren? Is Michelle the only succesful, beautiful black woman in America? Really, what were people looking for with the coats? Was it to dress their daughters in the same coat and if so, will that make them or their daughters cool? Then there was the story about how Obama's half-brother in Kenya was jailed. Why should CNN, BBC or anyone else care about what's happening to some young man in Kenya who's simply living his life- only because his last name happens to be Obama? And how is their reporting supposed to make any difference to his life or to ours? Yes Barak and Michelle make a cute couple, but do we really need to stalk them and analyze every "cute/loving" picture of them? Then there are the dolls called Sasha and Malia that were made, and which according to the makers "have nothing to do with any living people". Really??? Some company has a very awful awful PR section. Even I could have come up with a more plausible excuse/statement......

So while I'm a big fan of Obama and co, I do wonder what the point of this incessant reporting on their daily habits is? I wonder if people really care about their lives as individuals or if its all a "lets show how cool we are by being ridiculously concerned with their every breath"................ When will it be enough?

Anyways, I wish them (the Obama's that is) well and I also wish that the media will leave them alone!! Hopefully they'll all get through the next 8 years without damage.